The Man by the Cliff

November 10, 2017

A man stands on the edge of a cliff
watching quietly as the waves crash
against the jagged rocks below
He inhales deeply, tasting the salty ocean breeze on his tongue
as he takes measured breaths
Above gulls circle, crying out and breaking the otherwise soundless picture
Next to him, a woman puts a hand on his shoulder and rubs
calming circles into the tense muscle
He starts upon feeling her touch, turning with wide eyes to face her. She gives him a sad smile, and a reassuring nod
He turns back to face the ocean, eyes returning to their lost, glazed-over state
The pair stares out silently together and she takes his hand in hers
With slow, deliberate movements, she reaches for the small black urn in his hand
She moves to take it from him
but his fingers are wrapped tightly around the jar, refusing to let go
After a moment he seems to realize he’s been resisting her pull,
and gingerly detaches his stiff fingers
They watch together, mute as the ashes are carried away with the breeze
The man lets out a choked sob
tracking the final grains of dark dust that leave the urn
The woman’s head falls, and with a final squeeze of the man’s hand
she turns to leave
A father stands on the edge of a cliff
watching quietly as the waves crash
up against the jagged rocks below.






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